AN INTERVIEW WITH GABRIELLA OWENS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRETT KINCAID
Hector Frank was born in Havana in 1961 where he trained as an electrical engineer. Quitting this work to pursue art, Frank has since become an internationally- recognized contemporary artist. Renowned for his creativity of form and for his ability to depict the influences, colors, and textures of Cuban life, Frank’s mixed-media paintings offer a window into the diversity and vibrancy of the Cuban experience.
GABRIELLA OWENS The concept behind a self-taught artist is one of intriguing nature; what was your personal experience developing your creative process and your choice of mediums?
HECTOR FRANK It was like being born again. Everything was new and I began nding ways to translate my ideas on a canvas or through other supportive mediums. It was very di cult but also a very interesting process as I began to discover things unknown in myself.
GO Your work has a sense of varying consistency. The focus upon the portrait remains the same, yet the substance within each piece seems to change. What inspires the consistency? What inspires the variety?
HF What inspires me are human beings - with all of the forces and emotions that we bring in and not always externalize, but at the same time we betray our behavior. en I think of my characters (portraits) in a very particular way to catch certain feelings and visions that are these that characterize us and make us communicate without reasonable words.
GO How does your Cuban heritage inspire and influence your work?
HF My Cuban heritage is the product of two strong cultures such as Spanish and African. I have a lot of both and my work can be re ected either by the colors, expressions, forms. It is impossible to escape this in uence.
GO With the new political developments between Cuba and the United States, do you foresee this making a drastic impact upon your work?
HF This has not had any dramatic impact on my work so far. (I think drastic is a very strong word to talk about the opening of relations that is still in its infancy) But it has given me the opportunity to present my work in some parts of the US and meet and exchange with artists who live there. I met Bryant before this process and we will have been together for a long time. He is a human being who deeply loves art and more importantly is an excellent person and a good friend.
GO What is your voice? What do you want your audience to walk away with from your work?
HF is is a paradox of trying to get closer to the human as today increasingly moves away. e great triumphs of humanity have been when we’ve been all together. However, more and more, our interactions are being reduced. We are the center of our civilization but when developments grow, we communicate less and I want this to reach the audience especially when I do these characters with headsets and distant faces.
GO Can you use three adjectives to describe yourself as an artist and why?
HF Well... I think I am persevering, hardworking and sincere in my work. Without these qualities, it would not have been possible to achieve what I have achieved until now, especially considering what I had to learn on my own.
GO Can you describe what the expression artistic freedom means to you?
HF It is the possibility to express how you want. It is very important for any artist.
GO What does the word steadfast mean to you?
HF I think it must be a requirement in this profession. Naturally, it accompanies me in everything I set my mind in life.